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Award Winning Designer: Steve Domahidy

Award Winning Designer: Steve Domahidy

You’ve won three gold awards for your design. Please tell us about these awards in some more details, and what is the tip for success?

I have won three IF Gold Awards, 2 in the mountain bike category for the Niner Rip 9 RDO and the Niner Jet 9 RDO, and one in the road bike category for the Factor Vis Vires (now called the Factor One).  I’ve also won two IF Awards for the Niner Air 9 Carbon and the Niner Carbon fork, as well as a D&I Award for the Factor Vis Vires.  

I’m incredibly proud of the work I’ve done and the recognition I’ve received for this work.  It is a spotlight in my career and something that I strive for in every design I do.  I’m committed to making and executing progressive, amazing looking bikes with increased functionality.  I think one of the things that sets me apart as a designer is my ability to see the whole picture.  There are incredibly talented industrial designers out there working on far more radical designs and incredibly talented mechanical engineers working on forward thinking concepts, but what I bring to the table is an understanding on how and where to push, what the market trends are (and will be) and more importantly, what the current manufacturing capabilities are to make my designs a reality.  I push the envelope for sure, but I also have a very good handle on what IS doable, vs. concept work that cannot be brought to market. 

I think the key to all of this, is that I love to ride bikes!  I am a bike geek through and through! 

Tell us about your tremendous success with Niner, and how important is it for a successful designer to have great business experience.

Niner is something I am also very proud of.  First of all, the level of success we had (still have) with Niner was a lot of work!  We grew Niner at a very fast rate in a very short amount of time, and that took a lot of hours, and an ‘all hands on deck’ attitude.  In the beginning, it was just Chris and I, and I designed every Niner Bike for 7 years while Chris handled the business side of things.  There were some ups and downs during that time, but it was our commitment to make a better bike and our passion that really drove the company.  These things are paramount.  If you’re just making another widget, the consumer can see through that really easily!

I’m not sure designers need to have great business experience.  I like a designer with his or her head in the clouds, to dream of things not done before, or how to make them better.  Making business decisions, however, on what to execute on and where the market is going and what is next is incredibly important.  Somebody needs to oversee the designer and add direction and focus.  Again, the ability to understand the whole process from beginning to end and to love what you’re doing makes business decisions easier and better.  For my designs, I start first with the business decisions on what and how, I oversee myself, which isn’t always the best idea, but in my case, I’m my biggest critic, so if it’s not right, I’ll push myself harder.  

What are your design focuses for the new commuter bike?

The new commuter bike will be focused on function meeting fashion.  Comfort, safety, and integration are incredibly important to the modern commuter, and these things will be at the forefront of the new commuter bike, but everybody always wants a bike that looks good, too, and the looks of this new commuter bike will hopefully blow people away.  We’re going to push the boundaries again!

What type of commuter bike do you want to introduce to the market? What’s unique about it?  Does it fill a blank in the market?

I want to bring a unique and groundbreaking design to market.  Something beautiful to look at, sleek to ride, smooth, and, most importantly, striking.  There are some amazingly cool commuter bikes on the market right now, but most of them have gone for the ‘retro’ look; wonderful steel machines with a throwback to the sixties and seventies and sparkling chrome and while I do love this design aesthetic, I want to bring something a little more unique into the space.  One that flows, and I believe integration is a key to this design direction.  Built in accessories that shouldn’t be accessories at all, safety front and rear, integration with electronics, and comfort, all rolled into one! 

How do you want people to remember the new commuter bike as? e. if we want the new commuter bike to be remembered as some iconic product, how would you describe it?

I would love for the new commuter bike to tell the story of a turning point in time, from status quo to rideable art.  I would love for people to see the bike years from now, still find beauty in it, and know that this bike in this time and place, changed the direction of the commuter.  There is so much to do in this design space, and this is only the beginning, but I want this new bike to be a departure and the horizon of a new direction.  Lofty goal, but I hold myself to those all the time. 

Anything else you like to share about the new design?

This is a fun project, and I’m always eager to get through development and out into consumers hands.  It’s a longer road than most realize, but it’s a fun one, and my brain is on fire right now, excited and encouraged by what’s to come!

Rider Interview: Mariah Gondeiro, Triathlete & Law Student

Rider Interview: Mariah Gondeiro, Triathlete & Law Student

MVMT Rider Mariah Gondeiro

How did you initially start riding and when did you start?

I started riding bikes at a young age. I was 7 when I rode a bike without training wheels.  Initially, I rode up and down my gravel road leading to my house.  As I became more experienced, I would ride on mountain trails in Montana and race friends on bike tracks.

If you had to pick the best trail anywhere in the world for cyclists, which one would you recommend and why?

It depends on the view and incline. If I want a relaxing bike ride, I would ride along the pacific coast highway overlooking the beach. However, if I want a challenging bike ride, I would ride mountain trails in Montana because I could still enjoy the nice scenery while engaging my muscles. I am a little biased towards Montana because that is my home state!  

What was it about the MVMT bike that appealed to you the most?

I like the MVMT bike because it was light and well-equipped. It contained everything I would ever need in a bike.  I could pick up speed fast, change gears quickly, all while enjoying a smooth and safe ride.

How did the MVMT bike climb?

The tires gave me good traction climbing up and down hills. Riding on a lighter bike also made it easier climbing up hill. Changing gears was effortless.

Did the MVMT perform when you had to transition from downhill to climb?

Yes, I could switch gears quickly giving me a smooth ride from downhill to climb.

How much would you expect to pay retail for a full carbon bike outfitter with these components?

I would expect to pay about $2000.

    Interview: David Stanek, Bike Manager

    Interview: David Stanek, Bike Manager

    When did you ride a bike for the first time and what was your experience like?

    I don’t remember the first time I road a bike, but I do remember riding my bike to school everyday in 2nd and 3rd grade.  The first time I did a real ride I was eleven and my 21 year old brother took me to Santa Cruz from Sunnyvale.  We camped for the night and peddled back the next day.  I think I was on a blue Univega.

    What led you into being passion about bikes?

    My brother.  We used to watch Breaking Away, the movie and wanted to be like that.  He taught me how to pull my cranks, repack my freewheel, rebuild a hub and headset.  Those were loose ball bearing days and it took time and patience to maintain your bike.

    Do you use bikes simply for transportation? Do you race or consider it a hobby of yours?

    I use my commuter bike for transportation and sometimes as a road bike if I want an extra workout.  I do not race, but I love to ride up into the hills and forests around my house.  Biking is more of a hobby for me.  I enjoy the strenuous workout and the surroundings that it takes me to.

    What’s your greatest bicycling accomplishment?

    Well, it used to be that I road across the United States in 1987 with my buddy Tim using Bikecentennial Maps, but now it might be creating the MVMT brand and influencing the direction and product line of a new American bike brand.

    What is your favorite type of bike and why?

    Probably and adventure style bike or a gravel bike.  Something that you can pack weight onto and go down any trail controlled, but log serious road miles on.  I like my Marin Lombard Elite, but there are a lot of good choices now.  I used to just take my mountain bikes and put slicks on them; Trek Antelope, Bridgestone MB-2 for example.

    What makes you feel strongly about MVMT and their products?

    Since I know the factory and I even know the people managing each department, I’m confident that our quality and control methods are the highest available.  So my confidence in the product itself is what makes me feel good about the brand. 

    Do you see bike’s becoming more popular for transportation in the future?

    There was a bill passed called PL-114 94 that grants funding to surface transportation ways, improving safety and creating things like bike ways.  I am part of the San Mateo County Pedestrial and Bicycle Advisory Committee, so I get to see up close how the money is spent to accomplish these improvements.  Yes, I think as we “European-ize” our bike lanes, we will see more people comfortable enough to use them.

    Describe the top 3 benefits of biking, to you.

      Physical, Mental and Emotional Health.  You’ve got to release those endorphins to stay happy and biking does that while keeping you fit.  I know there are books on the topic, but do not overlook the mental thinking and contemplation that goes on in a cyclists head while they’re out there all alone in the forest or on a windy road.  It’s a great way to have some down time from this crazy world.